Complementary Therapies

  • Marie R. BaldisseriEmail author


An increasing number of patients now survive with chronic and terminal diseases. However, these patients often have traumatic experiences during and after hospital and ICU stays experiencing fear, depression, pain, and loneliness. There is an increasing call for nonpharmacologic treatments and adjunct therapies with less side effects that many medications have, especially when the patient has to take these drugs for long periods of time. Complementary therapies have increased in popularity and usage among patients and healthcare professionals. There has been some initial reticence in using these techniques and interventions primarily because of the lack of knowledge and training that healthcare professionals receive in regard to these therapeutic options. Despite this, there is an increased demand for these interventions to be implemented by patients, families, and healthcare professionals. There are a variety of interventions that have been proposed, and some of these have resulted in positive and beneficial effects on patients’ overall well-being, mood, pain, and even stabilization of vital signs and outcomes. Despite the lack of many rigorous randomized controlled trials, the use of these interventions has now become widely accepted. Their utilization and planning should be carried out by multidisciplinary teams within the hospital and within the ICU venue in order to optimize their use and avoid potential conflicts with other traditional therapies.


Nonpharmacologic treatments Holistic medicine Complementary and alternative therapies (CAT) Complementary health approaches (CHA) Complementary medicine (CM) Complementary therapies (CT) Aromatherapy Evidence-based support Mind-body interventions Centers for Integrative Medicine Animal-assisted intervention 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Critical Care MedicineUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA

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